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Bill to Increase Access to Rooftop Solar Moves Forward

Sacramento CA— The Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee voted earlier this week in support of Assembly Bill 2339 (Irwin/Low) by an 8-2 vote.  AB 2339 now proceeds to the Assembly floor.

In California, where you live dictates whether or not you have access to net energy metering, a critical policy making rooftop solar accessible for all consumers.  Californians living in the territory of a municipal utility (e.g., Sacramento and Los Angeles) have less assurance in state law that they can adopt solar.  AB 2339 aims to make rooftop solar equally available in all utilities across the state, including the state’s largest municipal utilities. AB 2339 would align the methodology used to calculate existing caps on net metering in municipal utility territories with the methodology used by the state’s three largest investor owned utilities, establishing consistency throughout the state.

“At its core, this is a consumer protection bill,” said Assembly member Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), author of the bill. “Everyone in California should have equal access to solar energy regardless of what city they live in.”

“Solar energy makes sense everywhere in California,” said Assembly member Evan Low (D-Campbell), co-author of the bill. “Rooftop solar brings jobs, cleaner air, and energy reliability for all Californians.”

“Rooftop solar power has always made sense in California, and the accident at Aliso Canyon makes this solution even more apparent,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association. “Protecting net metering for all consumers is key to tapping into California’s abundant and clean solar energy, creating jobs, and saving consumers money.”

The vote by the Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee is a strong signal that the State Legislature will be responsive to voters and consumers and give all Californians equal access to clean energy. CALSEIA commends the Committee Chair Mike Gatto and other committee members for recognizing the real and tangible benefits of solar—consumer choice, statewide job creation, a cleaner, affordable and more reliable electricity grid, and healthier air.

In January, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to protect net energy metering for consumers living in investor-owned utility territories of Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. California has nearly forty municipal utilities and irrigation districts required to offer net energy metering under different and less favorable rules. Together, they service over three million California customers and include such large cities as Los Angeles, Sacramento, Burbank, Pasadena, Anaheim, Modesto, Riverside, and Roseville.  Many of the state’s municipal utilities still rely on coal-fired power plants in the Southwest for electricity supplies.